Thursday, December 9, 2010

A continuation of "evening the playing field"...

So, the last time I blogged, I wrote about Stacey Napp, the attorney who has made divorce an even bigger business than it already is.  I posted about this subject on one of my many messageboards and ended up getting into an argument with another poster, who maintains that I should cheer on Stacey Napp for her genius business idea.  Actually, a lot of women on that board were admiring Stacey Napp for what she's doing to help the wealthy divorcees of Beverly Hills.  I continue to be the only holdout and said I thought that if Stacey Napp is only helping women divorcing guys in a certain income bracket, she's just as greedy as the allegedly sleazy guys she helps sue.

This is how our discussion went.  The quotes come from a fellow poster on our messageboard.

There should be fairness & equity.

Which is why we shouldn't automatically assume this...
The mother shouldn't get screwed & not have a means to provide for her kids.

It takes two people to make kids. Most of the time, two people made the decision to have kids, and usually, both parents decide whether or not one of them is going to be a stay at home parent. In most modern marriages, both partners have a choice as to whether or not they want to raise kids, have a career, or both. Granted, there are going to be some exceptions to that rule. But in every case, if two people make children and raise them together, then the children aren't just "hers"; they're "theirs".

If we believe there should be fairness and equity in a divorce proceeding, then a person's gender shouldn't automatically enter into the question of who deserves more help in a divorce case, nor should we always assume the mother is the more appropriate parent for children involved in a divorce. If women really want to be treated with fairness and equity, then we need to stop asking for special treatment based on gender. We can't have it both ways. And as long as women continue to view themselves as downtrodden and in need of special help (even if, in fact, that really is the case), we can never be on equal footing with men.

Judging by that article, Napp's business seems to perpetuate the idea that women always need more help than men do. I've seen firsthand that that's not always the case. She's obviously got a successful business model going and a lot of people probably respect her and think she's awesome for coming up with her idea. Good for her. But I don't have to approve of it or cheer her on.

Why does making a living make her sleazy? If her tactics are not underhanded & deceitful, her motives don't really matter.

I never said the lawyer was sleazy for making a living. I said that if her motives for doing what she's doing are purely based on the pursuit of profit, she's not much better than the allegedly sleazy men she helps sue. The article makes Mrs. Pont's husband out to be an avaricious dirtbag who sought to screw over his soon-to-be ex wife and their kids. Conversely, Ms. Napp's company is portrayed as heroic for swooping in to save the underdog, Mrs. Pont, from her greedy husband and get her the money that is allegedly rightfully hers. But then the article says that so far, Ms. Napp only helps women who are divorcing guys in a certain income bracket. Why? Because helping women divorcing less wealthy men is not cost effective, even if those women might be even bigger underdogs who are even more in need of her services. If Ms. Napp is only going to help women divorcing men in a certain income bracket, let's not kid ourselves that she's really "rooting for the underdog" and wanting to "level the playing field". She just wants to make money, plain and simple. And that's certainly her right, but that doesn't necessarily make her more worthy of my respect.

So, is she an avenging angel, a shrewd businesswoman, or both? Seems to me that if she's only in business to make money and not to help people (both male and female) or effect change, then she's just as greedy as many of the men she helps her clients sue. To me, she's a very shrewd businesswoman, but not particularly deserving of my admiration except for the fact that she came up with a profitable idea. Moreover, if this article had been written about a man named Mr. Napp who had started a business to help a stay-at-home dad get hidden assets from his entrepreneurial soon-to-be ex wife, I'm sure a lot of people would be calling Napp a greedy dirtbag instead of admiring his business acumen... and they would be calling the stay-at-home dad a lazy bum.

I do, of course, understand that the only information I have is in this rather biased article and my perceptions could be entirely wrong.

I did go to Balance Point's Web site and it, at least, appears to be gender neutral.  Maybe I was just put off by the way that article was written and my beef is less with Stacey Napp and more with the person who wrote the article.

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